Spanish king in hospital for Achilles operation

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Spain's much-loved 73-year-old King Juan Carlos checked in to a Madrid clinic late Sunday for an operation on the Achilles tendon of his left foot, the palace said.

The operation, which comes three months after surgeons placed an artificial joint in his right knee on June 3, will involve suturing the inflamed tendon.

The king, who since his latest operation appeared in public with a crutch, checked in at the San Jose Clinic at 9:15 pm (1915 GMT).

"It is a minor operation, he will not be kept in hospital but he will have to go through a long rehabilitation process that begins with a period of immobilisation," a spokesman had said on Thursday.

The king will not go under general anaesthetic but will instead receive a local epidural pain-killer, he said.

Born January 5, 1938, in Rome, Juan Carlos was proclaimed king November 22, 1975, two days after the death of General Francisco Franco who had designated him as successor since 1969.

After Franco's death, he promised to rule for all Spaniards, signing a new constitution three years later and defending parliamentary democracy from an attempted right-wing military coup in 1981.

© 2011 AFP

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